Monday, July 8, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER: Victor M. Vincent, Jr.

GUEST BLOGGER: Victor M. Vincent, Jr.

I am pleased to share this heartfelt entry from Victor, a fellow Guilford College Alumn. He shares his thoughts as someone who has been formerly incarcerated and transformed by his educational attainment. Victor is the Founder of The Re-Entry Expert, an organization that "reaches out to those who have been incarcerated; raising the bar and allowing them to be successful after incarceration."

Victor M. Vincent, Jr.
The Re-Entry Expert

As someone formerly incarcerated, I was asked what higher education could afford someone who is or who has been incarcerated. As an ex-offender it would only be fair to speak first about the journey during and after incarceration.

Many people in prison ponder life after incarceration. Offenders dream of getting their lives together and having a successful life once they are released. However, when inmates get close to their release date fear sets in. Not a strong fear, just fear of the reality that life will be harder. Many ex-offenders build themselves up by saying “I can wash dishes or sweep floors and make it” because these are the jobs that sustain them while incarcerated. Life is so different once an inmate is released. Coming out of a downward spiraling economy an inmate realizes he has to compete for these lower wage positions to only be paid minimum wage. Higher education offers an environment which aids in the development of someone who is or has been incarcerated, offering the opportunity to live above the poverty line.

Speaking as an ex-offender I have often felt stuck, limited and coheres into low wage paying jobs. College has given me the opportunity to once again dream of a successful life and allowed me to understand my walk in life.  I was able to understand why I turned to crime at a young age and how I had to change my methods of thinking.  History gave understanding, law classes gave explanations, and business classes taught me how to conduct myself in the work environment. My professors took time to listen to me, believe in me and encourage me to make a positive difference in the world.

In 2011 I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and created a re-entry Program to assist and aid in the development of ex-offenders. Higher education has given me the skills to give back to the community and is a much needed resource for inmates and those who have been released.    

Victor M Vincent Jr.

Guilford Alum 2011

Victor M Vincent Jr. The Re-Entry Expert

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